The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the United States on Sunday, April 15, welcomed the Turkish government's economic reform plan aiming to drag the country out of a severe financial crisis which has caused the currency to plunge in value. In a statement carried by the Anatolia news agency, the IMF's Turkey desk chief Carlo Cottarelli hailed the program, saying it would make an important contribution to re-establishing financial stability.
He added that the implementation of the outlined measures would bring Turkey closer to a program which would receive support from the international community. Ankara's key ally, Washington, also lauded the plan and pledged the continuation of its support to Ankara. "These measures reflect a strong commitment by the Turkish government to stabilization and reform, in the face of considerable challenges," a brief statement from the US embassy in Ankara said.
"The United States, working with the international community, will continue to be supportive of Turkey as it moves forward with its program," it added. Turkey's Economy Minister Kemal Dervis on Saturday announced the long-awaited recovery program, which principally aims to cut public spending, restructure the weak banking system and accelerate privatization.
The new plan comes after a grave cash crunch, triggered by fears of political instability, forced the Turkish government to float the lira on Februry 22, disrupting a three-year IMF-backed disinflation program. Since then the lira has lost some 47 percent of its value against the dollar, pushing prices up and triggering street protests by the disgruntled public.
The reform plan is essential to cash-strapped Turkey's efforts to secure $10 to $12 billion of foreign aid to implement the program. Dervis, a former World Bank vice president brought in to put the economy on track, said Saturday talks were still continuing with international financial organizations. "I hope a decision will be reached on this issue next week. There are some positive developments, but foreign creditors are waiting to see the details of the program," he said. —(AFP)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)